BBC News

Smart tech reconnects Colombians

Sept 09--"Semantic web technology" is being used to reconnect Colombians displaced in the country's civil conflict.

The international team aim to use smart technology to allow people to search currently incompatible databases of missing persons.

By the end of 2008, it was estimated that there were 4.3 million displaced people in Colombia - around 10% of the country's population.

The researchers also hope to use online social networks to help unite people.

"The displaced population in Colombia is the most vulnerable because their fundamental rights are massively violated," Juan Sequeda, who works on the project, told the BBC World Service's Digital Planet programme.

"Their [physical] social networks are weakened."

He believes the online tools can also help rebuild physical relationships.

"The displaced population lose their 'social tissue' at the moment they are separated," he said.
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